When data shows that phone calls are the second-most-common initial form of contact with car dealerships, you have to pay attention to phone skills. Dealers must make getting calls to the right person the first time a priority, so customers don’t hang up and call the next dealership.
In today’s automotive marketplace, the phone call has become more important than ever as customers spend less time in the dealership and more time doing research. The phone is often the most overlooked lead source at the dealership. If dealers want to sell more cars, they have to pay attention to the phone.
The easiest place for dealers to start is getting the customer connected to the right person the first time.
Connectivity is more than just simply answering the phone (that is your answer rate). Even if your dealership has a receptionist or IVR, transferring calls to voicemail doesn’t help your dealership. If your prospects are not reaching the right person on the first try, they are not being properly connected.
When prospects call a dealership, they expect to connect to the right department with minimal hold times. While IVRs are helpful to route calls automatically, they are only valuable if they route to the right person or department and get answered. When a prospect is stuck in an IVR for too long or doesn’t end up speaking to a live person they will hang up frustrated. Angering your prospects doesn’t help you sell more cars or book more sales and service appointments.
Just like you wouldn’t leave someone standing on the showroom floor, you shouldn’t leave calls on long hold times or transfer them to voicemail. Don’t force prospects into having a bad experience at your dealership. Connectivity is easy to fix and goes a long way to making a good (or at least not bad) impression of buying or servicing a car.
Basic call tracking gives you data on the number of calls that are actually connecting through to a live person. Additional call analysis will give you better stats on prospect calls and connectivity rate; alerts can also be sent when a conversation doesn’t go quite right and when the caller won’t give a commitment to your store, so you can take control before they call the competition.
Make sure all departments are staffed at the right times, and you cross-train phone handlers to take care of basic needs.
Every Owner, GM, and salesperson should call your dealership to find out your prospects’ phone experience. If you don’t receive a seamless experience, neither do your prospects. Improve your phone connectivity, and you will see it reflect in your sales.
Look at reporting to determine what times of day you miss most calls.
- Do you see any trends on certain times of day or days of the week where phone traffic spikes and fewer calls are getting connected?
- Is there a difference in phone connectivity rates per department?
Make sure all departments are staffed at the right times, and you cross-train phone handlers to take care of basic needs. Stop letting calls go unanswered or left to leave a message instead of speaking to a live person.
Neutral is better than bad. Don’t let your prospects and repeat customers have a bad first impression. Strive for good but stop the bleeding now by improving phone connectivity.
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Once you take control of your connectivity rates, take a look at your sales calls deeper. Are you converting callers to appointments, or are there improvements to be made? CallSource’s Own-Set-Close program comes into your dealership and continues with phone sessions to train and coach your salespeople to improve their skills to make more sales.
Start implementing these changes, and you’ll start increasing your dealership’s ROI take off.